To overcome the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health, Thomasians should be instruments of spiritual renewal for each other, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Vice President Mylo Hubert Vergara said in this year’s Misa de Apertura at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church.

Vergara, the bishop of Pasig, underscored the importance of faithful introspection in this time of turmoil in his homily during the opening Mass that marked the beginning of Academic Year 2022-2023.

“In this life, a renewed spiritual formation […] of our young students, parents and educators should be an urgent focus due to the negative psychological effects of the pandemic [on] our mental health,” he said.

“We hope that deeper introspection on the centrality of God in our life, who created us, the be all and end all of our beings, makes us realize that any finite coping mechanism to deal with psychological issues [is] mere palliatives to get out of our emotional crisis,” Vergara added.

The Pasig bishop also urged University stakeholders to work together for a “relevant and effective” spiritual renewal.

“The challenge for the University is […] to look together as an educational community with one vision of hope: to listen and discern together involving all stakeholders so as to encounter Christ in each other and loving together as a sprawling beyond the University campus to the existing peripheries,” Vergara said.

“By the renewal of our faith in Jesus Christ, we have the comfort and consolation we seek to gain healing and, hopefully, attain the peace of mind and heart that God is in charge [of] whatever crisis comes our way,” he added.

Vergara likened this year’s opening of classes to the Pentecost, with the University gradually shifting to limited face-to-face classes for more programs.

“Our opening of classes is a Pentecost for us—a promise fulfilled for all stakeholders of this University […] that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are healed of our fears and anxieties and can courageously unlock the closed doors of our homes, classrooms, libraries, meeting halls, recreational rooms and conventional centers so we can have places of face-to-face encounters, dialogue and learning,” he said.

“As we open classes in UST this year, may we be [an] instrument of the Holy Spirit to renew each other in both a personal and communal way,” he added.

Classes in UST will officially start, mainly through “enriched virtual mode,” on Aug. 9.


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